Solving Munir case a measure of candidates commitment to reform

Kompas – October 17, 2007
Munir family legal advisor Choirul Anam (Tempo)
Munir family legal advisor Choirul Anam (Tempo)

Jakarta – There is a strong possibly that a commitment to solve the murder of human rights activist Munir will be sought from political parties or presidential and vice presidential candidates who will participate in the 2009 general elections. This is because their stand on the case will be one measure of the credibility of the respective candidates or parties, particularly in the area of human rights.

“We will seek a commitment to solve the Munir murder case from those who come forward in the 2009 general elections. We will take note, evaluate and socialise their responses to the case”, said Choirul Anam, the legal adviser to Munir’s family, when contacted by Kompas in Jakarta on Tuesday October 16.

According to Anam, the offer is being made because uncovering the murder that took place on September 7, 2004 could become an important part of measuring the commitment of election participants in the process of democratic reform.

Anam went on to say that the offer will also be made because there is a strong possibility that this case will not be fully solved in the lead up to the elections. This is because it is most likely that the court hearing of former Garuda Indonesia Airlines Executive Director Indra Setiawan, which is currently taking place at the Central Jakarta District Court, will end late this year or in early 2008. Whereas it is certain that Setiawan is not the principle perpetrator in the murder so in order to uncover the case there is a possibility that police will have to find other suspects.

Critical attitude

Separately, the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Usman Hamid said that a number of social organisations will be campaigning more intensively on Munir’s murder, so it is hoped that more members of the public will take a critical attitude towards candidates in the elections that may try to politicise the case.

This politicisation, among other things, may be done by making high-sounding promises to solve the Munir murder or other cases of human rights violations. Whereas at the same time – according to Hamid – there are a number of parties who are suspected of being involved in the murder who will use the elections to wash their hand of the affair or seek protection.

“We must anticipate politicisation which has a negative impact on the Munir murder case during the general elections. Because it is very likely that this politicisation will occur, because in order to attract the public’s support, a number of parties will use issues that are attractive such as the Munir case. The case is also exists within a larger political matrix”, said Hamid. (NWO)

[Translated by James Balowski.]